YMCK: “Family Racing”

by W. David Marx

The world over, nostalgia for 1980s video games is rife. But it is only fitting that the absolute kings, nay, gods of Famicon Pop are a group hailing from Japan — YMCK.

Their debut album “Family Music” sold 25,000 copies, an unprecedented number for a bossa-nova pop album made entirely from the four limited-sound channels available on a Gameboy. Gimmicky, yes, but undeniably irresistible for me and other members of Generation Y. The new party-style mini-album “Family Racing” dumps the jazzy major-seventh chords for high-energy, video-game jams with whispery girl vocals floating on top of microchipped riffs. Weirder yet, the musical programmers tackle all sorts of pastiche: “C’mon! Swing All Stars” is like a digitized version of 1920s speakeasies, while “Rock ‘N’ Roll Rendezvous (featuring Takahashi Meijin)” imagines a surprisingly good opening theme to a terrible video-game adaptation of the movie “Grease II.”